Opening Day Roster Set, But Fluid

By: T.J. Zuppe

With the clock ticking down to Friday’s opening day at Progressive Field, the Indians made the final steps in preparing for day one of the new season. The Tribe made it official by finalizing the opening day squad of 25 and tweaking the 40-man roster, to make it all work.

Manager Manny Acta will return to Cleveland with a team consisting of 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

On the way to setting the roster in stone, the team purchased the contracts of right-handed reliever Justin Germano, infielders Adam Everett and Jack Hannahan and outfielder Travis Buck from Class-AAA Columbus.

Outfielder Grady Sizemore will open 2011 on the 15-day disabled list, as he tries to rehab from injury

The team also shifted five players to the disabled list. Infielder Jason Donald and right-handed reliever Joe Smith will begin the campaign on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22nd.

In addition, Outfielder Grady Sizemore will continue his rehabilitation to the big leagues on the 15-day disabled list.

The other two players headed for the injury shelf include third-baseman Jared Goedert with an abominal strain, and outfielder Trevor Crowe, who has been experiencing right-shoulder instability and was considering possible surgery.

Both were placed on the 60-day disabled list. Goedert had to be recalled from Class-AAA Columbus before this move could be made, something the organization did not particularly want to do.

He will earn big-league service time while on the shelf.

Position by position, the Indians look like this:

Pitchers:

  • Starting pitcher: Fausto Carmona
  • Starting pitcher: Carlos Carrasco
  • Starting pitcher: Justin Masterson
  • Starting pitcher: Josh Tomlin
  • Starting pitcher: Mitch Talbot
  • Relief pitcher: Justin Germano
  • Relief pitcher: Vinnie Pestano
  • Relief pitcher: Tony Sipp
  • Relief pitcher: Rafael Perez
  • Relief pitcher: Chad Durbin
  • Relief pitcher: Frank Herrmann
  • Closer: Chris Perez

Position Players:

  • Catcher: Carlos Santana
  • Catcher: Lou Marson
  • First-baseman: Matt LaPorta
  • Second-baseman: Orlando Cabrera
  • Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera
  • Third-baseman: Jack Hannahan
  • Utility infielder: Adam Everett
  • Outfielder: Michael Brantley
  • Outfielder: Austin Kearns
  • Outfielder: Shin-Soo Choo
  • Outfielder: Travis Buck
  • Outfielder: Shelley Duncan
  • Designated Hitter: Travis Hafner

Certainly the roster is not anywhere near a finished product. The team hopes Sizemore, Smith and Donald make a speedy recovery. All three are expected to be back in Cleveland, playing a large role on the team very soon.

 

Prospect Lonnie Chisenhall will be in Cleveland soon, despite not making the opening day roster

Third base continues to be a big hole in the lineup. Hannahan won the job by default after Donald went down with injury and infielder Jayson Nix continued to play poorly, getting him shipped to Toronto for cash considerations.

 

Even though third-baseman Lonnie Chisenhall will begin the year in Columbus, if all goes according to plan, you could very well see him in an Indians uniform when the calendar turns to July.

The re-addition of Kearns has given Acta options, despite Crowe and Sizemore down. His right-handed stick should at give Sizemore plenty of time to get himself to 100 percent, instead of feeling rushed back to help his team.

Also, do not rule out the impact that Buck could have platooning with Kearns in left. He has shown his big stick throughout the spring and could definitely provide some pop when given the opportunity.

He could very well be the surprise to this team that Kearns was last season.

Losing Smith in the pen certainly weakens a possible area of strength. However, with Chris Perez at the back-end, it should continue to allow Acta to define roles, late in games.

In summation, this group of 25 will not remind you of the glory days, but also does look more prepared to face the grueling 162-game marathon that awaits.

There will certainly be plenty of growing pains along the way. You can bet on plenty of eye-rolling, hair-pulling moments.

However, this year will no longer be about a rebuild. It will be time for the promising prospects to prove that they belong and begin growing into the core the organization believes they can be.

If they cannot, they must be shown the door.

The clock is ticking. Welcome to the 2011 season.

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